March 14, 2023

Sitrep for Mar. 13-14 (as of 10:00 a.m.) 

The situation on the frontline

In the Kupiansk direction, Russian forces advanced in the area of the settlement of Hrianykivka. Apparently, their task here is to destroy the crossing of the AFU across the Oskil River near Kupiansk and advance further south along the river, capturing nearby territories.

In the Kreminna direction, Russian forces continue to advance towards Torske, pushing back the AFU from Dibrova, and mopping-up the forests near Kreminna. They also try to reach the Oskil River and continue to attack the settlements of Bilohorivka and Verkhnokamianske.

In the Bakhmut direction, fighting continues in a single-family residential neighborhood in the southern part of Bakhmut, but there have been no changes on the frontline there. Pro-Russian forces try to expand their bridgehead to the northwest of the town, attacking in the direction of the settlements of Minkivka, Orihovo-Vasylivka, and Hryhorivka. Fighting also continues on the northwestern outskirts of Bakhmut.

In order to prevent their troops from being trapped in a pocket (the current changes in the frontline make such a development of events very likely, as we announced in yesterday's sitrep), the AFU continue heavy fighting on the southern edge of the Bakhmut salient near Ivanivske. There were videos of fighting, showing a Ukrainian T-72 tank and artillery firing at the captured positions of the AFU.

The main urban fighting in the north of Bakhmut is going on in the industrial zone, where an enterprise used to be called the Artyomovsky Metalworking Plant (AZOM) is also located. Due to a large number of underground fortifications and tunnels in the industrial zone, some suggest that a situation similar to the siege of Azovstal may repeat in Bakhmut.

War correspondent Aleksandr Yaremchuk of pro-Russian RIA FAN [Internet news agency linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin — Russian oligarch, the confidant of Vladimir Putin and owner of the Wagner Group] in his video report shows an MT-12 Rapira anti-tank gun and claims that the MiG-17 aircraft monument in Bakhmut was destroyed by Ukrainian forces. Two Sukhoi Su-25 [Frogfoot] attack aircraft that apparently belong to the Wagner Group fly by in the background [they can both drop air-dropped bombs and launch unguided aircraft rockets].

According to the Deepstate project, Russian forces were able to capture Krasnohorivka in the Avdiivka direction. OSINT analyst Def Mon notes RuAF advances on the map (between now and Mar. 7). It should be reminded that it is in the Avdiivka area that the Russian Air Force is particularly active.

Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Andriy Yermak reported a rocket attack on Avdiivka, which resulted in the death of a civilian woman.

As a result of an attack on Volnovakha, two people were killed and two more were injured. Pro-Russian authorities claim that the strike was carried out with a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS).

Deliveries of Western equipment

It is reported that Ukrainian military personnel have completed training to operate Leopard 2 tanks in Germany. The first report about the start of the training was about a month ago, and training was expected to take 6-8 weeks. Effectiveness of such shortened training remains unclear.

The training of the Ukrainian military personnel in the operation of Leopard 2A4 tanks in Spain continues (judging by the latest news, this country will transfer 6 such tanks to Ukraine). The first 55 people have already completed the four-week course.

Footage has emerged of the ongoing training of the Ukrainian military personnel to operate Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and M113 armored personnel carriers.

The Washington Post, citing its sources, reports that the Ukrainian command believes that at the moment the Ukrainian Army is not ready for a potential counteroffensive due to significant losses among its most effective forces and delays in equipment deliveries.

Military correspondent Aleksandr Yaremchuk of pro-Russian RIA FAN published photographs of the Switchblade 300 loitering munition, which landed on the positions of the Wagner Group but, apparently, did not detonate. Since the beginning of this invasion, we have seen only two cases of successful use of these drones, perhaps because of a very small warhead as well as a short flight time.

The International Criminal Court intends to open two war crimes cases tied to the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children and attacks on civilian infrastructure. According to The New York Times, the court is planning to issue arrest warrants against “several people.”

Due to the abundance of video messages issued by mobilized men, some media outlets get confused and publish old videos as new ones.

In September 2022, The New York Times released an article based on wiretapped phone calls of Russian soldiers to their relatives. Journalists of Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] found in the source code of the article’s web-page the phone numbers of the relatives, as well as, in some cases, even their names and degrees of relationship. Having found 13 of the 20 servicemen mentioned in the article, Mediazona’s journalists found out that these people had returned from Ukraine alive and tried to contact them or relatives — one can learn the results from the Mediazona’s article.

A bill has been introduced in the Russian State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] to increase the conscription age to 30 years old. It is proposed to conscript citizens from 19 to 30 years old starting from Jan. 1, 2024, from 20 to 30 years old starting from 2025, and from 21 to 30 years old starting from 2026. The authors of the bill claim that this increase will not affect those already enrolled in the reserve.

Olga Romanova, Executive Director of the Rus’ Sidyashchaya [Russia Behind Bars] civil rights movement, reports that, as expected, many former convicts who fought for six months as part of the Wagner Group, after receiving a pardon and returning home, cannot adapt to life in civil society. Some return to drugs and die from overdoses, while others turn to robbery and inflicting serious bodily harm on others.